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Finished with the Stiffeners (maybe)

March 7, 2011

Well I didn’t get completely done with the elevators yesterday, like I wanted.  I probably will definitely get them done this week, but I have new task coming up that is one of those pucker factor tasks.

I got all the stiffeners hammered into the elevators.  Michelle came out and helped me by holding the elevator skins in such a way so that I could get to the hardest to reach rivets with my rivet gun.  I am starting to see why someone who has never done this before take 3 times as long as someone who has been through it.  If I had known some of the stuff I was going to run into, earlier, I might be able to shave a few steps off by doing certain tasks out of order.  As it is, I am touching every single one of these parts 25 times before I actually rivet them in place.  This is good and bad.  Good, because I become intimately familiar with every single piece of the plane.  Bad, because I have to waste a lot of efforts in tasks that have nothing to do with building.  Like arranging my stiffeners in such a way as to not mix them up.  Finding safe places for them while I work on other parts…etc.  If they would simply get you to cut the stiffeners out, shape them, size them, drill, dimple, debur, prime and rivet then I could have saved some time.  As it is, there is just no way, as a new builder, to read ahead and figure out what steps can be streamlined.  I love doing this project, I hate how much time I waste doing non-building tasks.  Oh well.

A few pictures of the process….

We get our rivets placed into the dimpled holes and then tape over them.  This keeps them from falling out when we turn the whole thing over.


I use painters tape. They make special rivet tape...but guess what. Its expensive!

Once we have them all in place we can place the stiffener in there and quadruple check that:

a) Its the right stiffener

b) It is sized correctly


Stiffener all ready to go.

Then its just a matter of squishing them to the proper height.  I have a gauge that I use to make sure that they are the right size.


These rivets have been set and look good.

If the sizing isnt right, you have to drill it out.  Maybe I’ll do a video on drilling out a bum rivet.  The process sucks so much that you really go out of your way to make sure you press them right.  Shape isn’t that big a deal, back riveting.  The rivet set (business end of the rivet gun) helps you keep things aligned.


This side is ready

And here we go these are all in place and ready to rivet.  Michelle came out and helped me with these.  I’m glad she did, because the first one I did I didn’t have her assistance…right side, and I think…I may do over.  I really screwed up a few of the rivets and the drill out didn’t work to well.  Honestly its mostly cosmetic, but how many cosmetic errors can you make before it becomes an issue?  Not sure on that one.

I did get some help from my son.


Adam is "helping" daddy by taking a picture of himself.

How about that video I promised….here it is.


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